Welcome to Part Three of B2Bento’s nine-part marathon chat with SEO & Social Media agency Happy Marketer.
Part Two of this exclusive interview covered the topic of video in search engines. Now, we talk with Prantik Mazumdar, Rachit Dayal, and David Liem about social media: what it meant, and what it means, to the marketing field.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview are the personal views of the interviewees and and do not necessarily represent the philosophies or viewpoints of their organization or clients.
(Anol Bhattacharya – AB, Prantik Mazumdar – PM, Rachit Dayal – RD, and David Liem – DL)
AB: Let’s look at social. This is the favorite thing of marketers nowadays. Let’s look at the expectations or mindsets of businesses regarding social in Singapore or in Asia.
What changes are you observing and what changes are you noticing right now? What has changed since the time you started and now? Positive or negative doesn’t matter – what kind of change?
PM: I think social, as you rightly said, is the conference buzzword. Been there for a couple of years which means a lot of people want to adopt it. It’s relatively easier to understand than, let’s say, search and analytics because it’s not that geeky or tech, because technically even an end consumer can start a Facebook page. It’s as simple as that but I think the difficulty lies because of that.
People think it’s very easy. Just by opening a Facebook page I’m going to get new customers and I’m going to get lots of business, going to get a lot of engagement. People fail to understand that the basics of marketing still exist.
Just by setting up a Facebook shop out there things won’t really change, so I think there’s a lot of expectation mismatch. People think that social is a magic wand that’s going to change business overnight but it takes a lot of effort in terms of content, in terms of reaching out to the right audience, in terms of optimizing it for the right kind of incentives and contests that you want to run.
I think there is a huge expectation mismatch right now in the market which can only be solved if people move beyond the party words and conference mentality. People need to dive deep and firstly figure out which, you had a very nice example of a certain company’s name I wont mention, that just wanted to use Facebook as the social network de facto which may not be true.
For a B2B company maybe Facebook is absolutely irrelevant but because of corporate political pressure that’s the network they’ve heard of, so they want to be there. So I think a lot of education needs to happen in terms of which network, why, what business problem is it solving.
RD: Very few companies have an outlook more than 6 months. Every tender, every project. Nobody before that has planned out the next 3-5 years. Of course I understand it’s hard for social to plan because the platforms change but the nature of social isn’t. It’s conversation. It’s a certain part of the marketing funnel and nobody has an idea of what happens beyond this project.
Agencies are the one defining that, which of course we end up defining in terms of whatever brings us margins and KPIs, right. We have to do that. That’s our paycheck. The client side needs to go think ahead a little bit and figure out how that connects to business at the end. It doesn’t have to be sales. It can be conversations and lead generation and attribution as you mentioned.
PM: That’s very well said, in terms of the moment you think of social as a 6 month or 1 year project, that’s the biggest mistake because social unlike search has very little direct correlation to end business objectives.
AB: And there is ‘outsource’ of social. Many companies do that. They outsource the whole thing to an agency. People tend to forget that you run a Facebook page or a LinkedIn group or a Twitter handle, whatever, you need content to keep that thing alive. It’s just not going to survive by its own.
David, what do you think about that. Why don’t people think about content at all?
DL: Well, like you know when Facebook first came out and there was business pages. That was the big buzzword, everybody was like ok get on it. Now that the dust has settled a few years later they’ve realized just being on Facebook is not going to cut it because our audiences have smartened up. They have even shorter attention spans. Their attention spans are fleeting. We have realized that just putting on content, anyhow putting on content is not enough.
You really have to think hard about what content is really relevant at the current day, as recent as what’s happening this morning, and then we put together stuff for that post we’re going to put up and we really have to understand our audience a lot better like if it is a student audience, what kind of content do they like, be it funny stuff or if they prefer techy, geeky stuff or do they like just pictures of their classmates – something simple like that.
It really keeps us on the ball and we have to continuously experiment. That’s all we do and that’s what we convince our clients to do. In a way we just say, let us try out these different types of ideas and let the data speak for itself, and whatever works, we’ll take the top 50% and move it to our next phase of content development and then we’ll continue to optimize it from there.
We’re looking at all these monitoring tools and all the analytics from Facebook and other tools to better able to hone our content, both in what we write and when we deploy it, and of course educating the client on what works and what not, because at the end of the day I think we kind of have to side with them but we have these tools, we have these analytics to convince them that what their audiences is actually doing based on the data.
Stay tuned for Part Four, where the social talk continues with how the medium can and should be used by marketers.